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Problem Solving

  • By: Dong-gwi Lee
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Much of life involves solving problems. From major decision making (e.g., purchasing a new car, choosing an academic major), to responding to daily hassles (e.g., having a flat tire) and stressful life events (e.g., unemployment, divorce, or death of significant others), how people solve various life problems has been an important subject of research and practice for mental health professionals. Formally defined, problem solving is a goal-directed process that includes identifying the problem, generating solutions, selecting the best solution(s) and implementing it (them), and evaluating the outcome(s).

Historically, the scholarly effort to define the problem-solving process with life problems finds its roots in the work of D'Zurilla and Goldfried (1971). They proposed a five-stage model of the problem-solving process:

  • General Orientation Stage: Individuals recognize and ...
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